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NCIS: Is Mark Harmon returning to beloved show for season 20?

Mark headed up the show for 18 years as Special Agent Gibbs

mark harmon ncis
Eve Crosbie
TV & Film Writer
August 17, 2022
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Last year, NCIS star Mark Harmon ended his 18-year run as the drama's lead, and ever since then, fans have been desperate to see him return to the CBS show.

MORE: NCIS star Mark Harmon finally breaks silence on leaving show

So what has Mark said and what is the likelihood that he will return to the CBS show for its upcoming 20th season? We've done some investigating and here's what we know...

WATCH: NCIS'  Mark Harmon says goodbye as Leroy Gibbs after 19 years

As viewers will know, the fourth episode of season 19 saw Leroy Jethro Gibbs decide to retire from law enforcement and spend the rest of his days in scenic Alaska after his final case led him there. 

MORE: NCIS star Mark Harmon almost missed out on the role of Gibbs to this huge Hollywood name

MORE: Where are the stars who left NCIS now?

Speaking in a special featurette to coincide with the season 19 DVD release, Mark clarified that his character is alive - and still very much able to resume his role of Special Agent in Charge if required.

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Mark headed up the show for 18 years as Special Agent Gibbs

"I'm not retired. The character is living in Alaska, as far as I know," he said before adding that he was happy with how things were handled. "Plot-wise, this character has taken the path that it did. I thought it was honest and OK with."

Mark's words offer up some hope that he could potentially make a comeback or a cameo in the future, although the plot of season 20 is being kept firmly under wraps for now. The show is set to return to screens in just a few weeks' time, on Monday 19 September at 9pm ET/PT. 

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Will you be watching the season 20 premiere of NCIS?

However, executive producer Steven D Binder has dropped a huge hint that viewers haven't seen the last of Gibbs. Following Mark's exit, he released a statement that read: "As an executive producer and dear friend, Mark continues to be an integral part of the fabric of the show. Our north star has always been staying true to our characters, and that truth has always guided the stories we tell and where those characters go.

MORE: Could NCIS star Pauley Perrette be returning for season 20?

"So regarding the future of Gibbs, as long-time fans of the show may have noticed over the years… never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out."

Meanwhile, in a TV Line interview with CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl, the question of Mark reprising his role anytime soon was also brought up, to which he responded: "everyone is aware that the door is open if he ever wants to pop in for an episode, or multiple episodes".

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